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Polio physical therapy.jpg
Children undergoing therapy for polio.
MeSH D013812

Therapy (often abbreviated tx, Tx, or Tx) is the attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a diagnosis. In the medical field, it is usually synonymous with treatment (also abbreviated tx or Tx). Among psychologists and other mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and clinical social workers, the term may refer specifically to psychotherapy (sometimes dubbed 'talking therapy'). The English word therapy comes via Latin therapīa from Greek: θεραπεία and literally means "curing" or "healing".

As a rule, each therapy has indications and contraindications.

The words care, therapy, treatment, and intervention overlap in a semantic field, and thus they can be synonymous depending on context. Moving rightward through that order, the connotative level of holism decreases and the level of specificity (to instances) increases. Thus, in health care contexts (where its senses are always noncount), the word care tends to imply a broad idea of everything done to protect or improve someone's health (for example, as in the terms preventive care and primary care, which connote ongoing action), although it sometimes implies a narrower idea (for example, in the simplest cases of wound care or postanesthesia care, a few particular steps are sufficient, and the patient's interaction with that provider is soon finished). In contrast, the word intervention tends to be specific and concrete, and thus the word is often countable; for example, one instance of cardiac catheterization is one intervention performed, and coronary care (noncount) can require a series of interventions (count). At the extreme, the piling on of such countable interventions amounts to interventionism, a flawed model of care lacking holistic —merely treating problems (in billable increments) rather than maintaining health. Therapy and treatment, in the middle of the semantic field, can connote either the holism of care or the discreteness of intervention, with context conveying the intent in each use. Accordingly, they can be used in both noncount and count senses (for example, therapy for chronic kidney disease can involve several dialysis treatments per week).



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